Bolt of Talent: Lessons in the Making of a Champion

Taking Aim2
Aiming High: June Perkins

Today’s blog continues my interest in running.  This morning I was inspired by watching the fastest 100 metres final ever,  seven finalists ran under 10 seconds.

I don’t profess to be a professional sports writer, but there is something about Usain Bolt’s achievement that can inspire us all and something magical about today’s final that will inspire me with my daily journey back to being a runner.  In my childhood I wanted to be  a fast 400m or 800m runner, but I never quite got there.  I have always admired those who achieve their dreams as runners, and will never forget the feeling I had when I did my personal best in a race.

With a name like Usain Bolt it seems destiny called Mr Bolt into the field of running like a lightning bolt. Today Bolt ran into the realm of legend and some commentators said, he undid the saying, ’lightening never strikes twice,’ by doing just that.  He has now won two Olympic 100 metres back to back, something never done legally before except by Carl Lewis courtesy of Ben Johnson being caught for cheating.

So what makes someone want to be the fastest man in the world, and gives him the realisation that he has that capacity.

I don’t have an opportunity to interview Bolt, and right this minute I think he’d be a hard man to catch, just looking at the camera and media people lining up to have their super-fast chats.

But watching his feat this morning first thing when I woke up I wondered: what is the more in-depth story behind the man who has done so much for restoring people’s faith in athletics, a sport where some high profile people have cheated and people  start to doubt natural ability.  So like most people I web-surf.  Not always highly reliable, but let’s see what it shows us.

One interesting biography on line, traces Bolt’s career from childhood to today and reveals that Jamaican sprinter, particularly as a teenage was a practical joker and didn’t always take his running seriously.  It outlines in some detail how Bolt just didn’t initially have the focus that was going to make him a true champion.  His commitment to his sport, despite his obvious natural talent, was questioned by many commentators and athletes, and he was often in the paper for nightclubbing and eating fast food (a sin for a serious athlete).  Yet Jamaican athletics kept giving him those opportunities because of his obvious talent and tried to harness that talent.

This biography reveals that Bolt wanted to run the 100m in 2006, but was being groomed for the 400m and Usain made a deal with his coach, Mr Mills, said that if he could break the Jamaican 200 m record he would then let Bolt run the 100 m.  To his coaches surprise Bolt did just that, the year was 2007.

Bolt always loved sport and as a youth he excelled at cricket, perhaps he could have even chosen to be a cricketer, but it was athletics where his brilliance really shone through and he was the youngest junior world gold medallist for the 200 metres at just fifteen.  Can you imagine being that young and winning a medal at that level?

Bolt’s breakthrough year was 2007, and came after two years of injuries, a change of coach and pivotal moments like being given opportunities to prove himself.  It seems despite his early promise his full brilliance took a bit of time to come to fruition.  Now it is hard to imagine the sport without him.

Can’t wait to see how Bolt does in the 200m.

Snap shot memory of the 100m race before summary – the runners all doing their identity movements to the camera prior to the race – from beasts to eyeing the camera off and Bolt’s little set of movements that are recognisable as a mantra, the final over so fast with Bolt running FAST and the others fast but not fast enough, the elation of Bolt and the special and funny moment where the Mascot comes and gives him a gold mascot and poses for a photograph.

Five things Usain Bolt’s story teaches us:

1)      Creative thinking brings success (trying different sports or distances until one brings you amazing success)

2)      Teachers and coaches who persevere with talented people can be surprised and rewarded by their efforts

3)      Success breeds hunger for more success but you still need to work for it

4)      Natural ability needs opportunity to shine

5)      Set- backs can make a person rather than break them.

(c) June Perkins

Two biographies amongst many others you can read on the talented and inspiring Bolt.

Other interesting articles out today

Published by June

Writer, photographer, lover of unity in diversity in thought and humanity - poet by nature, world citizen

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